Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"If I Have To Explain..."

I'm fairly certain that as riders, we have all had someone question us as to why we ride the brand or type of motorbike that we do. So it is with my switch to riding scooters that I get questioned about why a scooter and not my Harley. One fellow went as far as to question my manhood because I wasn't on a "real bike". He doesn't even own or ride a motorcycle, yet felt that he needed to express his opinion. If they only knew.

I could throw out some stories of adventure and danger and about times that I pushed beyond what was considered acceptable behavior as a biker, but do I really need to? Certainly not to some jamoke that talks out the side of his blow-hole. It's not worth my time to legitimize myself. It reminds me of the quote that is often found on tee-shirts that reads, "If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand". I do understand, because I was there.

My point is, that if someone is into riding and they genuinely enjoy motorbikes no matter what the style, make or model or whether it's a custom bobber or a Lambretta, then that person, to me, is a rider. Period. It is my personal choice to ride what I enjoy and I happen to feel that I'm open-minded enough to be respectful of what another person chooses to ride. The truth is that I am happy riding anything. My passion happens to be scooters. I dig the crazy things.

When I think about it, I'm just one of those people that enjoys the full spectrum of what the two-wheeled world has to offer. There is so much to watch and learn and read about. I still like watching the two Pauls of OCC and the offerings of Two-Wheel Tuesday on Speed. I like the Biker Build-Off episodes, though I am a little freaked out about the way Hugh King looks with the floor mop hair-do. But for the most part, I'll walk up and look at anything parked on the street. It can be a Trail 90 or a Gold Wing, it doesn't matter to me. It's probably the same for folks that are into antique furniture or hot rod cars. You stop and look because it's what catches your eye, it's what interests you.

Every bike and every rider has a story too. People want to talk about what it is that they like about their steed, or where they've gone with it. And folks, every story is worth hearing, because to the teller, it's worth telling. And being a good listener, or for that matter a good reader, completes the circle.

I realize that I'm preaching to the choir now, but in the end, I still feel like I had to "explain" myself. You folks that visit this site, more than most people that I know, already understand. Sometimes a guy just has to get something off his chest. It was worth it for me.

Have fun,
Bill

14 Comments:

Blogger dan_durham said...

The same can be said for folks who ask why we ride in the rainy season. That has been, precisely, my answer: "if I need to explain, you won't understand."

Good post by the way about respecting what people choose to ride. On a sportbike, I try to wave at everyone even if they don't return it. At some point, I realize that I am going to want a different style of bike myself...

It's interesting when we get a warm sunny day during the winter and I see *everyone* waving regardless of what they ride...

-Dan

8:07 PM  
Blogger Steve Williams said...

I think I am pretty much open to riding anything. Now if I'm choosing the list gets shorter but I don't really care what another person decides to ride.

There is some scooter derision out there but then there is also a lot of Harley derision, sportbike derision, and general criticism about anything outside what a person considers reasonable. I guess....

I will say that I will choose the Trail 90 over the Goldwing. I love those Trail 90's. Rode one through a neighbor's hedge when I was a kid. I was showing off for a girl and it sort of got away from me......

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

8:36 PM  
Blogger CodyandMichelle said...

I agree, actually I find "personal choice prejudice" in many aspects of life. Look at my "What the heck is Spongin?" blog. I'm not sure where some people get off on pushing their personal opinions,disparaging comments, and thoughtless statements on what another person does,rides,surfs, etc... Especially those ignorant bastards who've never even, done,ridden, surfed, etc..
To sum up our points,(if it's ok to speak for us both) to all other wannabe whiners and naysayers.........MYOB!!!
Cody

6:41 AM  
Blogger Combatscoot said...

I think that most of us understand you, but there are others, perhaps curious or whatever, who may show-up here and learn something. I know I've had a couple at my blog.
John

7:49 AM  
Blogger Sarch said...

Bill the guy that was mouthin' about your scooter mouths about anything that he doesn't know or understand....guaranteed. Those people are all over the place.

I'm alot like you. If it has two wheels I'm am going to walk up to it for a look-see. If I'm fortunate enough for the rider to be present I'll share a few words with them. Riders are literally the friendliest people I've run across in my 40 years. It doesn't matter what they ride or what they look like, for the most part their pleasant enough.

I ride a Kawasaki Nomad (and REALLY enjoy it)but have ridden a couple of scooters that my dad had in the past. Man are those things fun! The goobs who are bad mouthing scooters might need to take a self-image check.

Just my two cents....sorry.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Dave Dixon said...

Great post.

Riding my LX50, I find I spend a lot of time patiently explaining why I chose a scooter, and a small engined one at that. I usually can be very patient until I get the "But you belong on a Harley" comment - where I grind my teeth, sigh, and try again.

It's wonderful when people can drive or ride the vehicles they want. It's even better when a person can respect other people's choices.

10:39 PM  
Anonymous irondad said...

I wish folks would learn one simple truth:

"It ain't what you're ridin'; it's the fact that you're ridin'!"

7:33 AM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

Dan,
It really boils down to respect of others. It just seems like so many people get caught up in their little circles of like-styled bikes, that they can't see that their passion is shared by others with different types of rides.

There's a lot of avenues to explore for the open minded rider. Literally.

Steve,
Derision will always be there. I find it hard to have a conversation with someone that is so set in his ways, that his ride is the only ride to have.

I remember a guy in a bowling alley one day that turned to me and asked if the "girls bike" outside was mine, meaning my bobbed '75 Ironhead Sportster. He was brand new to the HD brand, and had a brand new attitude to go with it. Before I could respond, an old time biker piped up in my defense, asking "Aren't you the guy that claimed that Suzuki was the best bike to own"? (The loud mouth was an ex-Katana Rider.)

The barstool biker got up and left, leaving me with the oldtimer to share a good laugh.

Cody,
By all means, speak up brother.

The opinionated minority will always be there for us to see as a challenge. It would be different if they had experience to back up their point, but the ones with the most to say are the ones that don't "get it".

I love the guy that is really into sportbikes for instance, that is inviting you to come out and share in his excitement. I can take his ribbing all day about what I ride. But if you are an armchair cowboy...No thanks.

John,
You are so right. In a lot of ways, we all learn from each other in our expanding blog circle.

I for one, have learned a great deal from some good teachers since I climbed on board.

Sarch,
Your two-cents was worth a buck and change.

There was a time not long ago in an old circle that I ran with, that if someone ran their mouth, he got his "eye dotted", or his teeth were turned to "chicklets".

I'm not that person any more, but the feeling still rises, and I won't react to them. I "Turn the other cheek" so to speak.

You know that it's hard to convert the non-believers.

Dave,
Man, that teeth grinding gets old. But...if you can have one of those conversations that is like a verbal ping-pong game, it can be fun. As long as both parties ride away satisfied that the other person understands where the other is coming from, all is good.

Mutual respect is really what makes the game fun.

I'm really starting to like the small motor Vespa. I hadn't researched it much, but am now looking twice at them. Thats one of the reasons that I'm glad that you rolled in. I've become a "Big Guy" follower.

Dan,
You said it all brother!

Have fun,
Bill

8:10 PM  
Blogger Sarch said...

Hey gang,

Ya'll probably already know this, but Road Runner Magazine (in my humble opinion THE best motorcycle enthusiasts magazine in the universe) now has a section dedicated to scootering across our great country. The pictures are outstanding and the writing is nothing short of great. Well worth the change and time of any of you folks who haven't picked one up.

Hey Bill, when you get a chance pop over to my blog and give me your opinion on the Victory's attempt to move into the cruiser market.

Safe riding and a great week to you all!

6:48 PM  
Blogger American Scooterist Blog said...

There are so many truly great bikes in the world today. They fit every description. Too bad I'm just too short to try them all hahaha. I found a sticker that fits my belief perfectly; "Don't hold strong opinions about things you don't understand." It fits on the right saddlebag of my Harley but probably would wrap around the bodywork of the scooters becoming illegible.

I like that I'm seeing more appreciation for the ride than the image among scooterists. You fostered that again in your blog.

The living is in the ride. It always was.

Rb

11:40 PM  
Blogger Bill Sommers said...

Sarch,
I jumped over to your site, and posted my comment about the Victory. I like it.

Rb,
"The living is in the ride", is really the best way to put it.

Thanks for that. And where did you get that sticker? I have a use for it.

Have fun,
Bill

7:52 AM  
Blogger American Scooterist Blog said...

Bill, I checked the website for that sticker but remember I got it at one of those alternative stores in the mall. I'll try there and if you like I can pick one or a couple up for you if they have them.

Harv

7:04 PM  
Blogger Biker Betty said...

What a great post. I get the most flack from the older folks in my church about my motorcycle. A few are so mad they won't even talk about it. They also aren't happy that I like to rock climb. I have had so much fun, seen awesome scenery and, best of all, made many great new friends.

I agree that people should respect each other for whatever transportation and sport they like to do.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way I figure it is I earned the "3" endorsement on my WA State drivers license the same way someone with a HD Road King did.

Susan
West Richland WA
Yamaha Vino 125

4:37 PM  

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